(maybe this story is true. maybe it isn’t.)
Life goes full circle.
I saw an old friend tonight. It was during a dinner to celebrate a mutual friend’s birthday. We were really happy to greet eachother after two years of disconnect. The familiar messy, slobbery scene of the Brooklyn underground came along with him and it was refreshing. There are people that I know (their names go unmentioned) who would throw up if they knew we were hanging out again. That’s how nuts it was back then.
“How’s so-and-so?” He asked. My ex, he meant.
“That’s been over for a little while now.” I said.
“Wasn’t she suppose to be a fling?”
His eyebrows furrowed and I looked at him and said, “Yeah, that’s right.” I had forgotten but he was right. She was a fling until we fell in love. “Dude, I’ve been domesticated.”
“I know what you mean. I was domesticated too.” My nameless friend said.
But he stayed in the scene. Even became more renown for his parties. I left during the transition when the number of attendees went from hundreds to thousands. Crowds, ice sculptures, burgeoning DJs, artists, press. It was all in the package that goes with him everywhere.
I really did become domesticated and all of those things my nameless friend and I thought were so cool dropped out and became real conversations about…realness. Who were we then, my friend and I? Who are we now?
When my nameless friend and I spoke, it was like two war veterens exchanging the thousand yard stare that only people who grew up on the Brooklyn scene could understand. Maybe not even them but those who partied with us. We lost our shit back then.
The Whiskey Dregs is based on those days. “Orgy” was a common four letter word. Sex was nothing but communication and party was synonymous with life – a loose life for loose livers. We were damaged but in a good way. Old broken hearts, sad lustful eyes, dance ’til dawn and chewing the amber waves of grain. It was the cusp of an unforgiving movement, dredged from the experiences of 2004 – the year that America almost changed.
The parties weren’t exclusively for partying. Some were fundraisers – routes to organize movements or collectives to express our resentment of the current administration and the desire for change. Everyone was involved until things got messy and the party took precedence over the movement. John Kerry lost the election that year. I cried while sitting at my desk at work. I didn’t let anyone see the silent punishment for being an idealistic American.
“Last we talked, you were going to brand your name,” my nameless friend said. He meant my big DJing marketing plan. I couldn’t remember what it was.
“Yeah, I know but I quit.” I said. “I became domesticated.” That was the first time I admitted that I quit DJing to settle down with someone. I couldn’t lie to him about how much I loved to DJ. He was there. I loved the crowds. The smiles. The great drug-less high. Adrenalin. Power. The raw and relentless bass from the drums of the House music I played. The draw of hundreds that converged into one great and infectious tsunami of exhileration. It was sex but better and I gave it up to prosper with a woman and create some stability – went against my nature. Took up my second love of writing and then she was gone.
Another promoter came and joined us at our table. My nameless friend introduced me as a DJ. I had just told him that I quit. She sat down next to us and her vibration was addictive. It reminded me of every one of those people I did parties for and the revelers who joined in the festivity.
My nameless friend was there when I had to explain to a Dutch girl’s chaperones that I didn’t know their foreign import was only 17. He even went down on an ex-girlfriend during an early morning orgy. He knew me before when the mayhem of a lifestyle caused moral questions to surface. Then there he was, sitting across from me, dragging that dark and joyous scene with him.
He got older but then so did I and the question still lingers like a fly that won’t go away when you’re trying to sleep. To DJ or not DJ – again.